“Fresh and ferocious, Lockdown will hook boys with its gritty, unrelenting surprises.” James Patterson, for Lockdown (Escape from Furnace Book 1)
Alex tried to escape.
He had a perfect plan.
He was almost free. Even felt the cool, clean air on his face.
Then the dogs came.
Now he's locked in a place so gruesomeso hellishthat escape doesn't even matter.
He just wants to survive.
Alex Sawyer and his mates should have known there was no way out of Furnace Penitentiary.
Their escape attempt only lands them deeper in the guts of this prison for young offenders, and then into solitary confinement. And that's where a whole new struggle begins--a struggle not to let the hellish conditions overwhelm them.
Because before another escape attempt is even possible, they must first survive the nightmare that now haunts their endless nights.
Praise for Solitary:
“Fast paced and packed with nail-biting scenarios . . . This is a dark story with a dark ending, but the gritty action and compelling characters will have reluctant readers enthralled.” School Library Journal
“Once again, Smith has created a thrill ride that will leave the audience wanting more. Smith's prose is fast paced, witty, and sometimes downright terrifying. Some of the images he creates could manifest into a nightmare or two. Teens who are looking for a great thriller/horror story will definitely want to pick up these novels.” VOYA
“Adrenaline-fueled action infuses the narrative as it did in Lockdown (2009), keeping the pages turning. . . . The author knows what keeps his readers locked to the page and delivers it soundly.” Kirkus Reviews
"Breathlessly paced." --Booklist
Praise for Lockdown:
“Fresh and ferocious, Lockdown will hook boys with its gritty, unrelenting surprises.” James Patterson
“Furnace is hotter than hell and twice as much fun! Sign me up for a life sentence of Alexander Gordon Smith!” Darren Shan, author of the Demonata series
Also by Alexander Gordon Smith:
The Devil's Engine series
The Devil's Engine: Hellraisers (Book 1)
The Devil's Engine: Hellfighters (Book 2)
The Devil's Engine: Hellwalkers (Book 3)
The Escape from Furnace series
Lockdown (Book 1)
Solitary (Book 2)
Death Sentence (Book 3)
Fugitives (Book 4)
Execution (Book 5)
About the Author
Alexander Gordon Smith is the author of the Escape from Furnace series, including Lockdown. Born in 1979 in Norwich, England, he always wanted to be a writer. After experimenting in the service and retail trades for a few years, Smith decided to go to University. He studied English and American Literature at the University of East Anglia, and it was here that he first explored his love of publishing. Along with poet Luke Wright, he founded Egg Box Publishing, a groundbreaking magazine and press that promotes talented new authors. He also started writing literally hundreds of articles, short stories and books ranging from Scooby Doo comic strips to world atlases, Midsomer Murders to X-Files. The research for these projects led to countless book ideas germinating in his head. His first book, The Inventors, written with his nine-year-old brother Jamie, was published in the U.K. in 2007. He lives in England.
Read an Excerpt
I have a confession.
I’m not a good person.
I always said that I only stole from strangers, that I only took stuff they’d never really miss: money and electronics and the sort of things you can’t cry over.
But that was a lie. I didn’t stop there; I couldn’t. I stole from the people I loved, and took the things that meant the most to them. I didn’t just break into their cupboards and drawers, I broke into their hearts and ripped out whatever I wanted, anything that would get me some easy money down at the market.
So don’t go fooling yourself that I’m a good person, that I’m an innocent victim, someone who didn’t deserve to be locked up inside the hell on earth known as Furnace Penitentiary. I’m not. Don’t get me wrong: I didn’t kill my best friend Toby when we broke into that house. No, the blacksuits did it, they shot him then they framed me for his murder. But I’ve done things that are just as bad. I’ve killed little parts of people; I’ve cut them up inside, hurt them so much they wished they were dead.
There isn’t time to confess everything, but I have to get this off my chest. If I don’t do it now then I might never get the chance. Death’s coming up fast. I can feel its cold fingers around my throat.
Two years ago, when I was twelve, my gran died—had a fit in the middle of the night and swallowed her tongue. Mom was devastated, like any daughter would be. She cried for weeks, she didn’t eat, she hardly spoke to me or Dad. She’d just sit and hold the little silver locket that Gran had left her, gently stroking the scarred and crumpled photos inside.
I guess I don’t really need to tell you what I did. But I’m going to anyway. I need to.
I waited till she was asleep one night, ten days or so after Gran had been buried. Then I sneaked into her room and pried that locket from her hand. Ten quid. Ten lousy quid is what I got for it. A handful of dirty coins for the only thing my mom had left of her mom. I watched the man I’d sold it to rip the photos out from inside and chuck them in the bin, and I didn’t feel a shred of remorse.
Mom knew I was the one who’d taken it. She never said anything but I could see it in her eyes. There was no warmth there anymore, no love. It was like she looked right through me, at a phantom over my shoulder, at the son she wished she could have, the son she’d lost forever.
See what I mean? I’m not a good person. Don’t forget that. It’ll make my story easier to stomach if you know that I deserved to be punished for Toby’s death, even though it wasn’t me who pulled the trigger—that I deserved to be sent away for life in Furnace, deep in the rancid guts of the planet.
And that I deserved everything that happened to me there. Because Furnace is no ordinary prison, it’s a living nightmare perfectly designed for people like me. A place where freaks in gas masks—wheezers, as we called them—stalk the corridors at night and carry boys screaming from their cells. Where those stolen kids are brought back as monsters, all rippling muscles beneath stitched skin. And where the same poor wretches are eventually turned into blacksuits, the warden’s soulless guards.
I saw it happen with my own eyes. I saw it happen to Monty. I saw what he’d become, right before he died.
So, never let yourself forget that I’m a bad person, that all us cons are, even the “good guys” I met inside like Donovan and Zee and Toby (no, not my old friend I’m supposed to have killed—a new friend with the same name). The four of us thought we’d found a way to escape, blowing a hole in the chipping room floor with gas smuggled out of the kitchen. But nobody can run from their own demons. Donovan was taken by the wheezers the night before we broke, and as for the rest of us—me and Zee and my new friend Toby—well, maybe even Furnace was too good for us. It was certainly too good for Gary Owens, the hard-case headcase who discovered our plan and followed along like a bad smell.
No, maybe our fate was to find out what horrors lay in the tunnels beneath the prison.
Because that was our way out: the river that runs deep underground below the bowels of Furnace. We didn’t know where it led to. We didn’t care. Anywhere that wasn’t Furnace was good enough for us.
Or so we thought.
Oh yes, beneath heaven is hell, and beneath hell is Furnace. But the horrors that crawl and feast beneath that—now that’s a truly fitting punishment for someone like me.
So there you have it, my confession. It may not seem like the best time to share it, but it’s funny what races through your head when you’re plummeting into the darkness with only razor-sharp rocks and rapids to break your fall.
Excerpted from Solitary: Escape from Furnace 2 by Alexander Gordon Smith.
Copyright © 2009 by Alexander Gordon Smith.
Published in 2009 by Farrar Straus Giroux.
All rights reserved. This work is protected under copyright laws and reproduction is strictly prohibited. Permission to reproduce the material in any manner or medium must be secured from the Publisher.
Table of Contents
Thoughts from the Abyss,
Breaking and Entering,
The Charnel House,
The Only Way Is Up,
By Alexander Gordon Smith,
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
Sentenced to life without parole in the hellish prison known as Furnace, Alex has come to know the horrors the prison holds - the black suits with their shark-like grins, the wheezers and their gas masks, the dull red wash of the bloodwatch light. However, Alex attempted the impossible. He tried to escape. In this sequel to LOCKDOWN, Alex's jump for freedom into the raging underground river takes him to a new gallery of terrors. Alex must face the dark hole - solitary confinement - for his breach of the prison's security. Left alone in the pitch black, cut off from human interaction, Alex is left vulnerable to Furnace's tormentors, including the "rats," a group of former Furnace inmates who are closer to animal than human. They, though, give Alex a clue as to what is really going on in Furnace. Where do the wheezers take the inmates they choose during the bloodwatch? This book is a strong sophomore effort for Gordon's ESCAPE FROM FURNACE series. The descriptive language the author uses gives the reader a full-color picture of what's happening every step of the way, which is very important for an action series like this.
The authour does an excellent job of making you feel what Alex does....its a bit disturbing actually. Fantastic book, I'd recommend it to anyone looking for a fast-paced, gut-wretching story. This will definately leave you on the edge of your seat, wanting more.
This is a series that is unforgettable and you'll never want to put it down! I reccomend it for kids 12 and up.
Solitary review This is my personal review on solitary Alex and his friends try to escape Furnace Penitentiary. Their escape attempt only lands them deeper in the depths of this prison. Their failed escape puts them in solitary confinement. And that's where a whole new struggle begins not to let the hellish conditions overwhelm them of being alone in the dark Because before another escape attempt is even possible, they must first survive the nightmare that now haunts their endless night’s, darkness and pure silence perfect conditions for insanity. The characters: Alex(protagonist) : I really respect this character. He’s been through and yet it seems like he always gets rational again after talking with Zee. He’s been through it all; sadness, weakness, loneliness, anger, rage, suicide thoughts. But he always showed how strong, determined, logical, smart and dependable he can be. Zee (protagonist): Alex’s friend and accomplice in escape. Despite his small size and weak body, he keeps supporting and trying to protect Alex whenever he can. He is clumsy at times but he he’s very friendly and smart. He goes through a lot too. Donovan (protagonist): Alex and Zee best friend who was taken at the end of Lockdown by the blood watch he returns in this sequel but his presence is neither pleasurable nor much. I have no idea what to think and still having some hope for him he was really likeable character in lockdown. Gary (antagonist): A new Skull leader who decides to jump with the boys at the end of Lockdown. He’s very hard to understand and get along with. He is a complete psycho path! The Warden (antagonist): He is the one who runs Furnace. His appearance as described by Alex is that of a soulless being that when he speaks it trembles your soul it feels as if his presence was near you while he’s talking. - The writing as in the Lockdown was awesome I love how Alexander Gordon smith puts the suspense. It was well paced and everything was in enough detail and yet it had some aspect of mystery. So although there was enough decryption, there were moments when you could sense something was kept hidden it. The suspense was good. I liked how all the settings were well pictured in my mind. - The storyline however is different from the first one. We get to see other aspects and discover more secrets about Furnace and its horrors. - The characters, by which I mean Alex and Zee, somewhat grew up and developed a new sense of responsibility and commitment. They matured in this book in a lot of ways on how they thought and acted. - I would highly recommend this book but I would recommend reading lock down first. Gutierrez, Luis
A wonderful book, just as action packed and suspenseful as Lockdown. The author doesn't waste time getting right into the story and making you feel like you're right there with Alex. Where's number 3 already?
The book was ok...but it wasnt THAT good. I went into the book loving the first and it just was a sad attempt to recreat the story. Dont get me wrong, i LOVE the other ones, this was the worst one. Sorry if i dissapointed any of you.
This book is so good! Fast paced, fun, and just pure awesome. This series helped me get back into reading! Yay
I am almost a teenager and this book is so fast pace. I cant put it down i give it a 6/5
This book rocked!!! I thought that maybe because it's a sequel, it wouldn't quite live up to the first book, Lockdown, but it definitely did and then some. Solitary has everything a reader may look for in a good, action packed thriller. It's full of nasty characters you just love to hate and want annihilated almost as much as the good guys do, it's very fast paced, almost not allowing a reader to surface for even one intake of breath, and the protagonist, Alex Sawyer along with his friends (old and new), are such likable boys that you can't help but want them to succeed.I have seen this series (Solitary is part two of the Escape from Furnace and there are apparently three more coming our way, yay!) being pitched as 'boy and reluctant reader' books and while it's certainly that, Solitary should be really read by all YA fans and even reader of adult thrillers. It asks important questions (How much authority is too much? How much punishment is too harsh?) and definitely makes a reader think. I like that there are some introspective passages in Solitary that were missing in Lockdown and that a little more is revealed about the Warden. It looks like the curtain of secrecy will be lifted every few inches with each book, until the grand finale. Besides the great, roller coaster fun, the secrets will make you want to come back for more.
I really enjoyed the first book in this series, Lockdown, so I'm not sure why I waited so long to read book 2. This book did not suffer from the sequel slump for me. I was immediately pulled back into Alex's plight and could not wait to see what awaited them underneath the Furnace. Alex opens up this story by telling how horrible of a person he really is and why he feels he deserves to be in the Furnace and not be pitied. However, as you follow his attempt to escape and also rescue his friends you cannot help but feel sorry for him. Despite doing some pretty terrible things he does not deserve this horrible fate. Donovan was a favorite character of mine in book 1 so I was a little worried we wouldn't see him in this one since he was taken away in book 1. So I was surprised at how deftly the author brought him back as a subconscious figure that keeps Alex company when he is alone and despairing. It comes off almost as if Donovan was still there without seeming cheesy. We also see the introduction of a few new characters that provide a new level of intrigue to the story line. There is also the revelation that the head bad guy isn't all that first thought. There are a few surprises that are going to leave you eagerly waiting to get your hands on book 3. The whole story was an exhilarating roller coaster ride that had me immediately wanting to dive into the next book.I won't say this is a "guy" book per say because obviously I really enjoyed it but if you have a teenage, male, reluctant reader this might be a great series to start them out on.
Alex and Zee find themselves thrown into solitary confinement after their failed attempt to escape Furnace. Can they stay sane long enough to plan another escape, rescue Donovan and beat the Rats and Balcksuits that are intent on seeing them die?
What I LikedIntense This book is intense, Alex deals with the loss of hope and the possibility of never getting out of the hell hole that is Furnace. At a few points he does hit rock bottom and you completely feel sorry for this kid that deserves to be in prison, but not in Furnace. Alex is on an emotional roller coaster ride of the loss of hope and the light of hope. He has worked his way into being the provider of hope for other kids, what a heavy burden. The FurnaceMaybe the place isn't at sealed up as the inmates are lead to believe. A few more potential escape routes are discovered by Alex, he is one handy kids to have around when you need to escape from an inescapable place. A New NastyThe Blacksuites, Wheezers, the Warden, the dogs and now these mutant rat things that can chew through anything. These disgusting things must be avoided at all costs, they are gross and scary and with the revelation of what they use to be is even worse. EndingOh my goodness, I can't believe it ended like that, so close yet so far away. I can't wait to start reading the next book.DistractedDirtyI got distracted by being grossed out by how filthy everything in solitary is. Licking the walls to get some water, having a hole to squat over with nothing to wipe with, searching for bits of slop on the floor near the squat hole, no showers or washing hands . . . the list can go on for ages. I love my soap even more after reading this book.Recommendation This is book 2 in the series, got to read this series.
Wow, this was a gripping read...hard to put down! Just as you think things can't get any worse, the tunnels squeeze tighter, the monsters close in, and the suspense is palpable. I can't even finish this review, because I'm reaching for the third book!
Mixed emotions about this one guys. I LOVED, ¿Lockdown: Escape from Furnace¿ and I expected to read equally good things with this book.I must say there were some great well written lines.¿My entire body was rice-paper frail¿ ¿The human mind is a powerful thing in many ways. But in others it¿s endlessly fragile- it takes only a single moment of pure terror to tear a hole in it, like a finger through a cobweb, leaving you forever just a shadow, a half-person¿¿...For what is reality other than the commotion of senses- with images witnessed by our own eyes and the noises that enter through our ears?¿Maybe this was the entire point Alexander Gordon Smith was trying to get across (and I should have taken the hint from the title ¿Solitary¿) But I felt maddened by Alex¿s experiences in this book.Not really a shocker to readers...Alex finds himself locked up in ¿Solitary¿ which was to be expected as Solitary was described so well in ¿Lockdown¿ So, we have Alex¿s point of view, which is ....well....nothing. Most everything happens while Alex is in solitary confinement which means we are pretty much in Alex¿s head the entire time. And Kudos to Smith for making me feel bonkers-out of my mind with this book because Alex¿s insanity became my own. However, the characters that I got to know and love in the first novel just didn¿t appear here to me. And I¿m not talking about old characters carried over, even what few new characters did appear were flat and lifeless to me, completely lacking development. I was thoroughly frustrated and banging my head against the concrete prison cell that was this book! By book two I thought we would have a few more answers. Who is the Warden? What does he want with the prisoners?What are the Dogs, Blacksuits, Wheezers, and now Rats??? What purpose does it all serve???I hope the next book really pulls through for me.
All y Y
I have to agree with you...i qickly git tired of hearing about TH HOLE..... i stopped caring about the hole after the 3rd chapter. There was just to mich sbout th hole and not enough out the characters
Most of the book is mainly him in the hole.
How was Solitary?How was Solitary? I can truly sat that I loved reading all of Solitary by Alexander Gordon Smith. It continues Lockdown [the previous book] With Alex’s creative escape plan not quite working and he and Zee are sent to the hole. Soon they are picked up by a new set of friends with their own faulty escape plan. Since they need some way to get out Alex comes up with the brilliant idea of climbing the incinerator. Unfortuanetly it gets turned on and the almost successful group is captured. It is one of the best cliff hangers I have read in quite some time. I gave it five stars because of the suspense, how it made you feel what Alex could feel, and the books format. I enjoyed the intense suspense because it left you with many exiting thoughts of is he going to make it, or, what are they going to do to him. For instance when Alex and his gang are racing down a tunnel away from the rats I was thinking those thoughts. Another time these thoughts came to me was when the warden sentenced Zee and Alex to the hole. That’s why I liked the suspense. Furthermore, in this novel one could almost feel what Alex felt as he described his vivid feelings and emotions. One time was when he was in the hole and thinking about what his family would say to him and I felt like I was hearing his Grandmother reprimand him. Also when he was climbing the incinerator I could feel his hopes and dreams. Lastly, I loved this book for the format. I believe it was set up as a cause and effect as Alex would do something and then something worse would happen. For example, he tried to escape and was punished or when he blew up the tunnel and his newfound friend Ben was killed. For those reasons I think solitary is a fantastic show of Alexander’s skill meant for young adults. JeremyRCHMS14
But the bad thing was it could have been a little longer
I have not read this book but when i read the discription it just ruined some of the book but the first bokk was amazing
This story was very fast paced and made it very hard for me to put it down. It is written in a way that really makes you fell what Alex feels. I definately enjoyed it and would recommend it to anybody ho is looking for a fast-paced book. Especially if you are a teenage boy, such as me. It was great and I am enjoying reading the next books.